Ireland under-20's brilliant opportunism prompts scenes of joy and semi-final date 10 months ago

Ireland under-20's brilliant opportunism prompts scenes of joy and semi-final date

The Ireland machine rolls on.

The Irish under-20 women's basketball team are wiping out all before them at the European championship Division B over in Kosovo and they've a semi-final to look forward to now.

Having coasted through the group stages with comfortable wins over Ukraine and Great Britain, they were catapulted into a quarter final against a highly rated Croatia side.

That last eight clash took place on Thursday night and Ireland's inspired outfit kept up their blistering form. They're really motoring now.

66-53 read the scoreline on the buzzer in the south east Europe showdown to prompt scenes of joy amongst Irish players and coaches. A fine team effort leading to the just rewards of a semi-final. This is exactly where they want to be.

Still standing alongside them are Finland, Great Britain and Bulgaria. Martin Conroy's women will fear none of these teams now.

Thursday's quarter final was a tit-for-tat clash the whole way through but the brilliance of Sorcha Tiernan and Dayna Finn kept on pushing Ireland ahead.

Then with the game heating up Enya Maguire from the Ulster Elks popped up with one of the cheekiest pieces of skill you'll see. With Croatian backs turned and with few other options on at an Irish inbound, Maguire showed daring and nerveless opportunism to take her chance off a Croatian back.

The speed of thought, the quick thinking of it all.

The ball rebounded perfectly and deservedly and the finish matched the idea.

On we go to a semi-final. This uncharted territory for Irish basketball, hopefully they can keep it up.